It’s National Public Lands Day! Today is the perfect time to get…

It’s National Public Lands Day! Today is the perfect time to get out and explore parks, refuges and wilderness areas near you. There are also thousands of volunteer events across the country and fees are waived, so head outdoors and enjoy some active time in nature. Photo from Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Kinds of Blue Black

The exhibition that I ended up curating at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation this year, “Blue Black,” explores the space between Ellsworth Kelly’s Blue Black and Louis Armstrong’s “Black and Blue,” using them as bookends for an inquiry into how these two colors have been employed within a wide range of artistic practices. The selected works hew flexibly to the theme. It is by no means a comprehensive survey of the subject.

Family Annex Made by the Firm Nommo Arquitetos in Florianópolis, Brazil

This project consists of a gated community composed of three houses that are shared by members belonging to the same family. The family has, over time, grown, and come to need more space in order to cover their needs. Rustic materials were used in the social block of the home, such as reinforced concrete. Additionally, glass walls running from wall to wall have installed, allowing a direct connection with the..


10 Body Language Tips that Make Your Communication Skills 10x Better

You’re reading 10 Body Language Tips that Make Your Communication Skills 10x Better, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Have you ever noticed the connection between the body language and communication skills? Why do emotional people who are animated attract more people and have fewer communication problems than those who are reserved and unemotional? The following article is going to reveal the secrets of the body language and tell you 10 body language tips that will make your communication skills 10x better.

  1. Do Not Cross Your Arms or Legs

To show that you are open to people, you need to open literally and not close with the help of arms and legs. You are thus looking defensive and guarded – who needs that for the effective communication? In fact, the statistics show that you should open both your arms and legs to improve your retention. By crossing your arms and legs subconsciously, you are closing yourself from both the people and upcoming information – try to control this gesture, and you will soon see the positive results. People would be attracted to you, and you would memorize the information better and faster.

  1. Keep an Eye Contact

To show you are interested in the conversation, you have to look at your dialogue partner’s eyes. If you are looking sideways, it is obvious that you are not interested and thinking about other things. To demonstrate your involvement in the dialogue, try nodding as well. It is pretty weird and quite difficult to talk to a person whose facial expression is still: you thus do not comprehend whether s/he agrees with you or not. To avoid uncomfortable situations, consider keeping an eye contact (but do not stare!) and nodding – this will create an impression that you are fully involved in the conversation and really enjoy it.

  1. Smile with Your Whole Face

People will feel your smile is fake if you are smiling with only your mouth. The sincere smile involves not only the one showing the teeth, but it is also about the whole facial expression you make when you beam: eyebrows, eyelids, and cheeks. Try to control this part of your body language and make no fake smiles. As mentioned earlier, people gather around the beaming person because they feel as if they are wanted to talk to. And they will never barter this feeling away for the person with the peevish facial expression.

  1. Do Not Point at People

Every person knows that it is extremely rude to dab with finger at your dialogue partner, however, it does not stop people of still doing it. If you have this habit, you have to control yourself as much as possible because you will push off any adequate dialogue partner. Just put yourself in his/her place and imagine s/he will point at you – how would you feel?

  1. Do Not Droop Your Shoulders and Arms

When you droop your shoulders and arms, you are thus making yourself smaller and more unremarkable. People would not notice you unless you set back your shoulders and stick out your chest. Do not pretend you are a superhero, of course, but having a normal pose would do only good for you. Relax and loosen up by shaking your shoulders and the confident posture will appear itself.

  1. Do Not Distance from Your Dialogue Partner

Of course, no one says you have to come up really close to your dialogue partner – it will make him/her feel uncomfortable. But keeping a big distance is another extreme that will make your partner feel uneasy as well. The big distance would confuse him/her because s/he would have to speak louder to make sure you can hear him/her. Second of all, the conversation is an intimate process of sharing information that is why the partners do not need to have a huge distance between them.

  1. Do Not Turn Your Feet Away

As oddly as it may sound, legs are the most honest part of the body. While you may control your whole body, you are, unfortunately, unable to control where your feet are turned. Standing with your legs apart will add you confidence, and you will thus show you feel comfortable. Of course, it is difficult to control all the time where the feet are turned but knowing about this part of body language will let you notice when you seem defensive.

  1. Smile and Laugh

The best way to pull people in by your body language is to smile and laugh sincerely. For one reason or another, people are attracted to those who beam. The contagious laughter is the best way to find yourself in the center of everyone’s attention and become everyone’s favorite. As for smiling, it is a powerful weapon: if a stranger approaches you, and you smile when s/he speaks to you, conceive that you will be friends. There is nothing more pleasant than to speak to a smiling person because when you beam, you warm your dialogue partner up.

  1. Do Not Keep Your Head Down

Do not keep your head too high because people will think you are arrogant, but do not keep it too down. This will signify you are shy and reserved and will thus frighten the potential dialogue partner. Keeping your head down creates an impression you are feeling guilty and discourages having a conversation with you because you have no idea how to get the eye contact with you. What you need is keep your head straight in front of your dialogue partner’s eyes: not too high, not too down.

  1. Do Not Hold Anything in Front of Your Heart

If you are at a party, try not to hold your drink in front of your chest because you are thus closing yourself from your dialogue partner. In fact, do not hold anything in front of your heart ever: this gesture makes you seem guarded and distant. If you have something in your hands, just keep it near the leg, but do not create a barrier between you and your partner with the help of the drink.

This article has covered all the points for improving your skills in spoken language. But don’t forget about your written communication skills, matter too! To learn more about this, check out the brilliant initiative on EduBirdie. This site is built for students, who require help with their endless assignments.

You’ve read 10 Body Language Tips that Make Your Communication Skills 10x Better, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


The B&N Podcast: Jenny Zhang

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

The short stories in Jenny Zhang’s debut collection Sour Heart started out as separate tales, but soon the young author found herself in possession of the story of a community — told through moments in the lives of Chinese-American children growing up in a New York City neighborhood. Insightful and wry, ferocious and beautiful, these interlinking stories earned Sour Heart a spot in Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program. In this episode, the author joins Miwa Messer to talk about her book, navigating family, and coming of age in America.




A fresh new voice emerges with the arrival of Sour Heart, establishing Jenny Zhang as a frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience in America. Her stories cut across generations and continents, moving from the fraught halls of a public school in Flushing, Queens, to the tumultuous streets of Shanghai, China, during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. In the absence of grown-ups, latchkey kids experiment on each other until one day the experiments turn violent; an overbearing mother abandons her artistic aspirations to come to America but relives her glory days through karaoke; and a shy loner struggles to master English so she can speak to God.

Narrated by the daughters of Chinese immigrants who fled imperiled lives as artists back home only to struggle to stay afloat—dumpster diving for food and scamming Atlantic City casino buses to make a buck—these seven stories showcase Zhang’s compassion, moral courage, and a perverse sense of humor reminiscent of Portnoy’s Complaint. A darkly funny and intimate rendering of girlhood, Sour Heart examines what it means to belong to a family, to find your home, leave it, reject it, and return again.

Like this podcast? Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher to discover intriguing new conversations every week.

The post The B&N Podcast: Jenny Zhang appeared first on The Barnes & Noble Review.

The Barnes & Noble Review

Tom Price is out at the White House — here are all the…

This Empty House

One may wind up concluding that by far the most terrifying thing about Mother! is that Darren Aronofsky seems to be Hollywood’s idea of an intellectual, our own brainy, home-grown auteur. Aronofsky isn’t much interested in these people’s complexity or humanity, but purely in his own big concepts. Of course, it’s possible to have characters and ideas; it’s a great gift of narrative art.

Fall brings dramatic color to Great Sand Dunes National Park and…

Fall brings dramatic color to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. Dense colonies of aspens grow in moist soil, sharing a root system and changing their leaves in unison. Like a river of gold, these gorgeous trees fill Morris Gulch, high in the mountains above the sand dunes. Photo by Patrick Myers, National Park Service.

Concrete House Designed by the Mexican Firm Grupo MM, Mexico

Grupo MM, a Mexican architectural firm that designed the Casa Concreto – or Concrete House – in 2015. The home is located in Ciudad López Mateos, Mexico, and covers a total ground area of 400 square meters. The structure’s light concrete walls create a stark contrast with its surroundings in terms of color, though its rough texture makes it feel right at home. The architectural firm’s intention when designing this..


Residence Designed by Ribero de Carvalho Arquitectos in Sintra, Portugal

Casa na Praia Grande is a private residence designed by Ribero de Carvalho Arquitectos, based in Colares, in the municipality of Sintra, in Portugal. The home itself is located in Praia Grande, which is also located in the municipality of Sintra, in Portugal, and was designed in 2011, covering a total ground area of 676 square meters. The home boasts stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean, and so it is..